Gluten-Free Homemade Breads

Are you trying to eat food without gluten?

This practice can help heal gut imbalances such as dysbiosis, SIBO (small intestine bacterial overgrowth), IBS (irritable bowel syndrome), leaky gut syndrome, constipation, diarrhea, gas and bloating and a whole host of other conditions. Eliminating gluten also reduces inflammation, thereby improving mood, providing energy, and rerong, reducing the symptoms of auto-immune disorders. 

Avoiding gluten is also a great way to simplify your diet and head into the winter with strong immunity. However, one caveat: packaged gluten-free breads and baked goods are just as toxic to the system as those containing gluten. Please stay away from them. 

When you are craving bread or a baked good, try your hand at these simple recipes.

Sweet Potato Bread

You will need:

  • 1 cup roasted sweet potato flesh

  • 1 cup coconut flour

  • 1 cup unsweetened coconut yoghurt

  • 6 eggs

  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

  • 1/4 cup chopped pecans (optional)

Preheat your oven to 400.

Chop sweet potato into chunks, place on a cookie sheet and toss with olive oil and salt.

Roast sweet potato in large chunks for 30 minutes. Remove from oven.

If you would like, roast a larger quantity of sweet potato and set some aside to have as a snack with nuts or nut butter.

Place the sweet potato, coconut flour, yoghurt, and eggs into your processor and blend until the mixture resembles a smooth, runny batter. Add the soda and mix to combine.

Chop pecans and fold them into the mixture if using.

Grease a loaf pan.

Reduce oven heat to 350.

Pour the mixture into your prepared tin and bake for 45 minutes.

Remove from the oven and cool in the tin for 10 minutes before gently transferring to a cooling rack. Allow to cool for 30 minutes prior to cutting.

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Cornbread

You will need:

  • 2 eggs

  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar

  • ½ cup brown rice flour or millet flour

  • 1 ½ cups cornmeal

  • 1 teaspoon each: baking powder, baking soda, and salt

  • 4 tablespoons coconut oil

  • ½ cup almond milk

Preheat oven to 350.

Put all ingredients in a blender or food processor and blend well.

Grease a loaf pan with coconut oil. These also make great muffins! The recipe makes about 9.

Scrape in the cornbread dough; it will be thick like cookie dough, not a pourable batter. Press down on the top to form an even layer. It is easiest to do this with a rubber spatula.

Bake for about 30 minutes or until the top is golden brown.

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Recipes for Spring Renewal

Green spring tonics are a time-honored tradition to encourage gentle liver and gall bladder renewal. Leafy greens, both wild and cultivated, are some of the most nutrient dense vegetables of all, and we’ll discuss their nutrition as well as many other health benefits.

This is a time when we transition from Winter hibernation to Summer growth. Because we are part of the earth and it cycles, it’s crucial to align with this seasonal change by strengthening digestion and immunity.

Certain foods and culinary herbs are specifically indicated for supporting this transition. They tend to be ones that promote digestive and eliminative function, or strengthen the immune and endocrine (hormonal) systems.

In Traditional Chinese Five Element Theory (TCM), the flavor of Spring is sour. The sour flavor and the wood element influence the liver and gall bladder. Sour foods include vinegar, sauerkraut (and other lacto-fermented vegetables), lemon, rye, turnips, greens, quinoa, fennel, and caraway seeds. Sourness has an astringent and consolidating effect in the body. It can control diarrhea and excess perspiration or help focus a scattered mind.

Sour foods will help us harmonize Spring. In India’s time-honored tradition of

Ayurvedic Medicine, spring is known as the Kapha season. Kapha, the earth element, is heavy, grounded, and can feel stuck when it is out of balance. While spring waters are flowing and mud is everywhere, uplift your body, mind, and spirit, with a daily walk, deep breathing, and sour food.

I was raised in the

European / Mediterranean tradition, where we harvested dandelion greens each spring to make a bitter and delicious salad with olive oil, salt, vinegar, and grated carrots. I remember how much my grandmother loved vinegar. She dressed our salads generously with this sour liquid. Thank goodness for the carrots to temper the sour and bitter flavors for an overall harmonious effect.

Spring is a wonderful time to engage in a food meditation while cooking. As you chop, stir, and smell, try to be quiet and pay attention to the alchemy of cooking. This practice, along with the inclusion of sour foods and bitter greens, will help you feel more patient, calm, assertive, flexible, and alert.

Creamy Green Sauce

You will need:

  • 2 large yellow onions

  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil

  • 1 teaspoon each: salt and pepper

  • 1 large bunch kale, collards and/or chard

Chop onions. 

Add oil to a skillet. When oil is hot, add onions, stir briefly with spatula, turn burner down to medium-low, and cover. Add a splash or two of water. Add salt and black pepper.

Simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add water if onion is sticking to the bottom of the skillet.

Meanwhile, cover the bottom of a medium stock pot with water and add a pinch of salt. Bring to a boil.

Rinse and chop  kale, collards and/or chard. Add greens to the pot, cover, and reduce heat to low. Braise greens for 5-10 minutes.

Add greens to onions. Stir well to incorporate and purée with immersion blender or food processor. Enjoy as a condiment for grains, as a delicious sauce for salmon, and as a sandwich spread.

Walnut Leek Paté

Chop one large leek into crescents and place in a skillet with olive oil, salt and pepper. Sauté for 10 minutes on low heat. Add a splash of lemon juice and turn off heat.

While leek is cooking, place ½ cup walnut halves/pieces in a skillet.Toast on medium heat, tossing often with a spatula, for about 3 minutes or until walnuts are lightly browned.

Once leeks and walnuts are cooked, place them in a food processor and add 3 Tablespoons olive oil. You can also place all ingredients in a deep bowl and blend with an immersion blender.

Blend at highest speed for 2 minutes. Taste for salt.

Serve and enjoy with biscuits or savory breads or as a dip with steamed broccoli. Keeps in the fridge for one week.

Dandelion Pesto

In Italian, ‘pesto’ simply means ‘stomp’. You can ‘stomp’ any fresh herbs or greens you like into pesto. Get creative! Try a combination of parsley and cilantro, basil and parsley, or dandelion and nettles.

Harvest as many fresh, tender dandelion greens as you can. Aim for about 3 packed cups. Rinse well.

In a food processor or blender, blend into a thick paste:

  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice

  • ¼ cup best olive oil (labeled with acidity of less than 0.5%)

  • 3 tablespoons sunflower seeds

  • ½ teaspoon salt

Add dandelion greens. Pulse to incorporate.

Freeze large batches or enjoy with sourdough rye bread, over freshly cooked quinoa, or as a topping for poached white fish or white beans. Keeps in the fridge for one week.

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Eggs: Incredible, Edible ... Allergens?

Happy Egg Moon, Sap Moon, Passover, Easter, Hanuman Jayanti, and more!

In many cultures, the first signs of spring are cause for celebration of life's renewal.

The full moon tomorrow morning will be marked by a lunar eclipse visible in the Northeast around 5:45 am. If you do not want to set the alarm and rise before dawn, take a moment when you do get up to honor this transformative time

.As spring comes on, chickens start laying more eggs. This perfect protein is nourishing, balanced and vital for many. However, with the advent of large-scale agriculture and grain-fed chickens raised in contained settings, the nutritional value of eggs has declined.

All pastured animals can eat grass, which is high in omega 3 and 6 fatty acids. The animals kindly convert the fatty acids in the grass into a bio-available form that humans can digest. However, when these animals, from chickens and turkeys to cows and lambs, do not graze on grass, no one receives the omega fatty acid benefit.

What does this mean?

Without the crucial presence of these fatty acids, the body doesn't recognize the egg as food. Eventually, our systems begin to treat eggs as allergens.

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In short, know your food sources! Meet the chickens that lay your eggs. It will help your body to digest and assimilate this potent protein.

Try making eggs poached in beet greens to celebrate the full moon of spring.

They make a great brunch dish alongside shredded carrot and zucchini bread

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Going on Vacation? Food for Healthy Travel

When winter starts feeling long in the Northeast, those who have the privilege might choose to travel south and warm their bones, joints, and connective tissue.

If you cannot travel this winter, here are some tips to improve flexibility and circulation from the inside out.

Soak your feet.

Just take a storage container or tub, fill it with hot water, table salt, and 2 or 3 peppermint tea bags. Let your feet and ankles soak in the hot water until it cools down - about 10 minutes.

Breathe deeply. Try this mindful peace breath if you like

.Then, pat feet dry and rub them with coconut oil or sunflower oil.

Drink ginger tea.

Ginger tea improves circulation and uplifts mood by supporting healthy digestion. When digestion is not healthy, mood suffers.

Make a smoothie.

Fruit can bring joy to the moment and give our cells a burst of the plant nutrients that are under blankets of snow right now.

Here is a simple recipe:

  • 1 cup organic plain yogurt (cow, almond, or coconut)

  • 1 cup water

  • 2 cups frozen blueberries

  • 1 tablespoon ground flaxseeds

  • 1 teaspoon raw honey

  • 1 teaspoon each: cinnamon and cardamom

Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.

Click this link for more smoothie recipes.

If you are lucky enough to travel, here are some ways to stay healthy!

When we go to a new place, our guts have to adjust to the foods and the environment of this place. Sometimes, the bacteria that are naturally present in one location are very different from the ones to which we are accustomed.

Eat Pre-Biotic Foods.

Especially when traveling from a cold weather climate to a warm weather one, please choose pre-biotic foods, which stimulate the growth of healthy pro-biotic bacteria in your gut. These include apples, almonds, onions, pears, and potatoes.

Choose cooked fruits and vegetables.

When eating out, choose cooked fruits and vegetables to minimize the risk of exposing yourself to water-borne parasites. If you choose to eat raw fruits and veggies at restaurants, ask staff to wash and handle them with bottled or treated water to reduce risk of exposure.

If you shop and cook at a home kitchen during your travels, wash fruits and vegetables in a colloidal solution that suspends bacteria.

Skip the ice.

Ice can often be prepared with water that's untreated. For local folks, that's no problem. Their guts are accustomed to the local bacteria. For travelers, this might cause digestive upset such as diarrhea, vomiting, and fever. Ask for drinks prepared with treated / bottled water and no ice.

Pack an herbal toolkit.

Stock up on tinctures - medicinal herbal extracts. Find them at your local health food store or online. Choose goldenseal, sweet annie (artemisia annua), and echinacea. Take a dropper of each one of these every two hours at the onset of symptoms of infection, such as: nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, fever, or extreme migraine.

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Homemade Almond Milk

As we get older, our bodies produce less of the lactase enzyme, which digests the lactose in dairy products. If dairy is giving you gas, bloating, or intestinal cramps, try these substitutions.

Dairy is an important source of protein and fat, so it's good to substitute it with foods that have similar nutritional profiles such as nuts, winter squash, purslane, and borage leaves.

For delicious recipes featuring plant-based protein, visit my recipe page.

ALMOND MILK

Soak 2 cups raw, organic almonds in 4 cups water overnight.

Drain, rinse, and place in a blender with 4 more cups water.

Add a pinch of salt.

Blend well.

Strain off the liquid. This is your almond milk!

Store it in the fridge for up to 5 days.

Click this link for a blueberry chia lime smoothie recipe to enjoy your almond milk.

Save the almond pulp and add it to cauliflower flatbread or any recipe that calls for almond flour.

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Heirloom Wheat

Can an Heirloom Grain Help Resolve Wheat Allergies?

According to research conducted on the ongoing hybridization of wheat and its effects on human digestion, "we have scientific evidence that indeed, gluten sensitivity not only exists, but is very different from celiac disease." Alessio Fasano, medical director at the University of Maryland’s Center for Celiac Research, explains that wheat sensitivity is on the rise in the United States. One reason may be the continued breeding of wheat to increase production, making it genetically divergent from the wheat consumed two generations ago.

While the gluten-free products industry grows by millions each year, Vermont grain farmers like Ben Gleason continue to cultivate heirloom grains and artisan bakers tirelessly produce crunchy, hearty loaves from them. Cyrus Pringle, named after an Addison County farmer, is a hearty winter wheat strand that has not been hybridized since its initial cultivation in the mid 1800’s.

Could wheat-sensitive people digest Cyrus Pringle bread baked with a traditional French sourdough at Red Hen Baking? Randy George, the bakery’s founder and owner, has high hopes. The Gleasons’ grains are carefully monitored and ground in a stone mill on site to ensure freshness. Jack Lazor of Butterworks Farm is so passionate about small-scale heirloom grain production that he wrote a book about it, which was released by Chelsea Green in 2013. in his 33 years of grain growing, Lazor realizes that “true wealth comes from the ability to feed ourselves from the land.”

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Healthy Grocery Shopping

Writing and sticking to your grocery list is essential to make sure you’re loading up your cart with healthy food choices. Break down your list into staple items that fit into five basic categories:

Fresh produce. While it’s good to have a list of staples, be sure to choose a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables.Frozen fruits and vegetables can be a good way to add variety when fresh produce isn't in season.


Proteins. Focus on variety and keep fat content in mind. Look for ground beef or turkey that's at least 93 percent fat-free and grass-fed The omega 3 fatty acids is grass provide nourishment, both for animals and for the humans who eat them. Lean turkey and skinless chicken are all great options for your weekly list.Grass-fed local eggs and wild caught sardines are another way to add variety to your proteins. Dairy products also include protein and fat. Choose a good quality source of butter and cheese.

Whole grains. Create a list of different whole grains for the week. Staples can include brown rice, millet, buckwheat groats, and oatmeal. Try to buy in bulk if possible! Check which grains are highest in protein and include those every other week, too. For example, substitute millet for amaranth. If buying whole-grain sourdough bread or whole-wheat pasta, check the labels: Stick to choices that have more than 3 grams of fiber per serving, part of a daily goal of 25 to 35 grams of fiber. 

Fats. You do need some fats in your diet — it's simply a matter of choosing healthy fats and limiting them to an appropriate amount. Options can include natural peanut, almond, and cashew butters. Avocados, nuts and seeds, and olive oil are also good staples for your grocery shopping list. These provide mono- and polyunsaturated fats, which are more easily metabolized without increased cholesterol storage.

Foods to Avoid

Sodium: Opt for low-sodium soup when you can, and ask for low-sodium lunch meats at your deli counter. You can still eat foods with sodium. Just be sure your product doesn't have more than 300 milligrams of sodium per serving.

Condiments: Look for a vinaigrette or oil-based salad dressing instead of a creamy one. You can also try topping your favorite sandwiches with mustard, which is generally a healthier condiment choice.

High Fructose Corn Syrup: Also known as invert corn syrup. Sodas, candy bars, cakes, cookies, pastries and even energy/granola bars are loaded with sugar and calories, so it’s best to avoid them.

Remember to enjoy everything in moderation. Having a good understanding of healthy and unhealthy foods means you’ll make the most of every grocery shopping trip.


Thanks to Dr. Andrew Weil for this inspiration.

New Year, Healthy Eating

Would you like to reach your wellness goals in the new year?

Do you need help navigating the waters of food choices and fad diets?

With this step-by-step program, you will lose weight and learn healthy habits that last a lifetime.


A healthy diet is essential to achieving and maintaining well-being.

This simple program includes:

Recipes: Taste good health with delicious recipes that are easy to prepare and highlight food as medicine.

Updates: Receive customized advice based on your health assessment.

Tools: Gain tips to stay healthy and keep eating well for life.

Resources: Read articles written by food experts that relate to your wellness goals.

"Lisa's Healthy Eating Program gave me personalized content, including information on how to cook and eat better, reduce stress, breathe, and more! Her simple, weekly guide helped me implement changes at my pace and maintain the new way of being. Thank you!" Christie W.


Food Allergens

Food is such an emotional topic in our lives. We need it to live, we feel good, bad, or somewhere in between when we eat it, and its nutrients, or lack thereof, deeply impact the well-being of all living beings, including the planet.

I believe that cooking my own food is a radical and revolutionary act. I try to grow some of my own food, too, which requires a profound lifestyle shift. It is neither the way of convenience nor of instant gratification.

The more I research processed food, the more I realize its potentially harmful health impacts. Here are my latest findings.

In summary:
Read the labels on packaged foods.
Try to cook more of your own, additive-free food.

The details:

Xantham Gum:
A polysaccharide secreted by the bacterium Xanthomonas campestris 
used as a food thickening agent and a stabilizer. It is produced by the fermentation of glucose, sucrose, or lactose. It may be derived from a variety of sources that are common allergens, such as corn, wheat, dairy, or soy. Anyone with known sensitivities or allergies to these foods is advised to avoid it

Tapioca Starch:
This root vegetable is native to Brazil and spread throughout the South American continent by way of Portuguese and Spanish explorers. It is now cultivated worldwide. In Brazil, the cassava plant is call mandioca while its starch is called tapioca. The name tapioca is derived from the word tipi'óka, the name for this starch in the local Tupí language. This Tupí word refers to the process by which the starch is made edible. Today, the commercial process of extracting starch from cassava root is highly chemical and requires class 3 solvents akin to rubbing alcohol. Over time, the residues of this starch can affect overall health, both of the human body and of the groundwater surrounding processing plants. 
What questions do you have about other strange and mysterious ingredients? Email me at lisa[at]harmonizedcookery.com and I will research them for you.